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K-State Today Student Edition

May 11, 2012



Designing success: Student engineering team wins three championships in national competition

By Communications and Marketing

A Kansas State University student engineering competition team experienced unparalleled success at the recent ASCE Charles Pankow Foundation Architectural Engineering Student Competition in Omaha, Neb.

The K-State team won three of the six first-place awards in the competition, which is hosted by the Architectural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers. K-State was the first and only school to date to place finalists in all five categories and win the two top overall awards.

"I am very proud of the performance of our students in the 2012 Architectural Engineering Student Competition," said David Fritchen, department head and professor of architectural engineering. "Their success says a lot about the quality of students and faculty in the department and the high priority we give to educating the future leaders in our industry. We enjoy a top ranking nationally because of our students' personal and professional efforts and dedication."

Ray Yunk, lead adviser and associate professor of architectural engineering and construction science, said the team's success could also be attributed to assembling a dream team of excellent upper-level students.

"We decided from the start that if we were going to participate in this competition, we were in it to win it and that we simply would not be outworked this year," Yunk said. "I'd like to think it's the K-State way to work hard to produce better results with fewer resources."

The competition matches architectural engineering student teams from major universities across the country. This year's event challenged students to address design issues for a new government office building in Omaha. The teams had to assemble design development packages that addressed the design and construction challenges of this high-performance federal building with a high level of security requirements. Teams submitted entries into the competition's five categories: integrated, structural, mechanical, electrical and construction. A submission is 35-pages total and includes a 10-page summary narrative, 15 pages of supporting documents and 10 sheets of large-format drawings. Industry professionals then review the submissions.

Three finalists were selected in each category and then presented in front of a panel of industry professionals. The K-State team did a 55-minute presentation followed by a 55-minute question-and-answer session.

The K-State team's success is supported by the quality of their education, according to Marc Bowser, senior in architectural engineering, Holton, and project design manager/electrical lead.

"Representing and being a part of a championship caliber K-State architectural engineering and construction science competition team at a national level really puts the education we've received throughout the past five years in complete focus and shows what an excellent program we have been blessed with here," he said.

The K-State team worked countless hours over eight months, holding weekly coordination meetings for both the whole group and for the subdiscipline groups with their advisers, according to Yunk. During the meetings, the teams produced professional-level integrated design and construction packages after consulting with faculty and industry experts. Industry professionals, who were primarily K-State alumni, reviewed draft submissions. The team also performed mock presentations for students and faculty.

Collaboration between the team's architectural engineers and construction managers was a crucial element of its' success, according to Marshall Frey, bachelor's candidate in construction science and management, Manhattan, and project construction manager.

"By fostering these relationships and communication skills at Kansas State, our students gain first-hand knowledge and experience that will benefit them on a daily basis in their professional career," Frey said.

After the third year of the competition, K-State has emerged as the most successful architectural engineering program in the event, with 11 of 45 national finalists and seven of 16 first-place awards to date.

Other team advisers include: Ray Buyle, Russ Murdock and Don Phillippi, all assistant professors of architectural engineering and construction science.

Along with Bowser and Frey, team members include:

Rebecca Gentry, concurrent master's and bachelor's student in architectural engineering, and Vince Pianalto, bachelor's candidate in architectural engineering, both of Leawood; Reid Lundin, concurrent master's and bachelor's student in architectural engineering, Manhattan; and Laura Boddington, senior in architectural engineering, and Noe Turrubiartes, senior in construction science and management, both from Topeka.

From Missouri: Joshua Heath, concurrent master's and bachelor's student in architectural engineering, Kansas City; John Dean, senior in architectural engineering, St. Charles; and Eric Grusenmeyer, concurrent master's and bachelor's student in architectural engineering, Smithville.